With four months of the “running” year now complete I decided to review where I have been, where I am (somewhat injured) and what I want to achieve over the next eight months.
First … What have I achieved in the first four months of the year. Fairly consistent training included running just over 600 miles … 3rd highest total ever for January to April … Most in over 15 years. Entered and completed 5 races (Icebreaker 8K, First Half Half, St Patricks Day 5k, April Fools Half and Sun Run 10K). Race times were OK but not great. Tempo runs were much more consistent than the last few years even if a bit slower at times … Consistent tempos were one of my goals for this year.
The mileage, combined with my “old school” “old dog” philosophy (meaning, among other things … You didn’t stretch when you were young … Why stretch now and “you can run through anything or pain or discomfort) has resulted in chronic tight calves and my left leg (quads/hamstrings/hip flexors/other muscles I didn’t even know I had) becoming strained/sore/tight and, at times, altering my stride.
After the Sun Run I had decided to return to my tai chi practice which I had stopped a couple of years ago and had decided that, if my left leg wasn’t much better after returning from Vegas I would return to my physiotherapist and stop trying to self diagnose.
While in Vegas I did start tai chi again (the warm 25+ degreevweather helped) while doing mega walking and only 3 runs. Fortunately, I say now, on my first run back in Vancouver, my left quad basically seized up at the 2.8 mile mark during my best tempo of the year and, being a “semi stupid” runner, after hobbling to complete at least a 5k tempo (you CAN’T stop at 2.8 miles) … I had to walk/limp the 4 miles home … Going right past my physio’s office … I made an appointment on the way home! I guess if it hurts enough the message finally gets through to your brain.
I did find that, while I couldn’t run, I could do tai chi so I was able to continue that practice. Two days later saw physio … Diagnosed with extremely tight quads/hip flexors, restricted motion and a likely inflamed bursa (but hopefully not a sports hernia) … Three prescribed stretches along with icing for a minimum of 15-20 minutes and a direct warning … “If it hurts do not run!” I asked what if you just feel discomfort … He said “you’ll know what to do” … I, of course, interpreted that to mean it was ok to run with discomfort.
That appointment was eight days ago … Between the stretching, icing and tai chi my left leg has improved considerably … I can actually lift my leg up when lying down, cross my legs easily without pain, lift my knees up without pain and have started running again though tightness still returns during the run. But definitely going in the right direction. I have also rejoined the Taoist Tai Chi Society and started attending classes. I am reacquiring my love for the tai chi set (108 moves in sequence) and the foundation exercises (jongs) … In particular the dan yu which is the tai chi version of a squat. After 18 days I can already tell the difference and improvement … In short run my running may suffer but in the long run my running (and health) will definitely benefit.
Ok, now where am I going? During the next two months I have registered for 4 more races (Shaughnessy 8K, Sandcastle 10K, Longest Day 5K and Scotiabank Half … With possibly also doing the Ambleside Mile. In July I may run the Kelowna Midsummer 8K, in August the Squamish 10K. In the fall I will definitely run the Fairhaven 15K, Victoria Half and Honolulu Marathon. The prime races are Victoria and Honolulu. Lots of time to rehab my leg!
For now I am being very conservative and cautious … If I miss Shaughnessy because I am not ready … So be it. Long run strength and health is more important.
My prime goals over the next few weeks are continue my tai chi on a daily basis, do at least one tai chi class a week, stretch daily after walks and runs, add core exercises to my daily routine and improve my nutrition. Probably not quite as easy to do as to write! I suspect I will continue to discover muscles I didn’t even know I had.
In addition I am a volunteer photographer for the Vancouver Heritage Foundation and have a August driving trip to plan. Should be an interesting summer. Any errors in this post may be due to the 3 glasses of wine I drank while writing!